‘It is a disaster for the town’: Friars supremo devastated by shock departure of Waterside chief as old boss takes reins once more

Jamie Baskeyfield with Friars promotor David Stopps.
Jamie Baskeyfield with Friars promotor David Stopps.
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Friars at the Waterside faces an uncertain future after the shock departure of general manager Jamie Baskeyfield and the return of former theatre chief Elizabeth Adlington.

Mr Baskeyfield, who was appointed only six months ago, said he had no comment when contacted by The Herald yesterday (Tuesday) following an announcement by the theatre.

But Friars promoter David Stopps was devastated when he heard Mr Baskeyfield (pictured) was leaving and said: “It is a disaster for the town.

“I had a meeting with him on Monday afternoon and he said nothing at all.

“He’s the best thing that has happened to that theatre since it was built. Since he’s been around it’s been a different place, positive, and things moving on.”

As previously reported in The Herald, under Ms Adlington’s first tenure at the Waterside there was tension with Friars, with Mr Stopps claiming the theatre was not interested in working with the music club.

Mr Baskeyfield, with a background in live music, enjoyed a warm working relationship with Mr Stopps and two Friars gigs starring The Specials and Steve Hackett, are booked at the theatre for May.

Mr Stopps confirmed they would still go ahead, but was unable to say what the future held for Friars at the Waterside moving forwards.

Becky Martin, press officer for the Waterside, said: “It was a business decision to bring the leadership of Aylesbury Waterside and New Theatre, Oxford under one management. Elizabeth has always remained with a hand in Aylesbury, representing us in terms of the council, so she never really went away.

“It’s absolutely business as usual, there will be no impact to the strategy. Friars has always been something we wanted to do. Jamie’s skills moved that forward and Elizabeth will pick up with that and continue it.”

Mr Baskeyfield, who is not remaining with the Ambassador Theatre Group will hand over to Ms Adlington on Monday. She now becomes area theatre manager for Aylesbury Waterside and New Theatre, Oxford.